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It’s How You Say It

In the Middle East they tell the following story to illustrate the essence of tact:

A sultan called in one of his seers and asked how long he would live.

“Sire,” said the seer, “you will live to see all of your sons dead.” The sultan flew into a rage and handed the prophet over to his guards for execution. Then he called for a second seer and asked the same question.

“Sire,” said the prophet, “I see you blessed with long life, so long that you will outlive all your family.” The sultan was delighted and rewarded the seer with gold and silver trinkets.

Both prophets knew the truth, but one had tact, the other did not.

Bits & Pieces, March 30, 1995, pp. 1-2

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